In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Hollywood star Annette Bening expressed her disappointment with California Governor Gavin Newsom for vetoing a bill to pay unemployment to striking union workers. The bill, known as SB799, had been passed by the Democrat-controlled state legislature during the height of the Hollywood strikes. Bening, promoting her Netflix movie Nyad, criticized Newsom for his objection to the bill, calling his decision “reprehensible.”
The bill would have required California taxpayers to cover unemployment benefits for striking Hollywood actors and writers who had walked off the job to protest against significant studios and streamers. However, California Republicans strongly opposed the legislation, arguing that it would force taxpayers to subsidize labor activism. State Senator Brian Dahle described the bill as “the most crazy thing” he had ever seen, emphasizing that it was a labor dispute, not an unemployment dispute.
Annette Bening, who was recently appointed as the board chair of the Entertainment Community Fund, a charity supporting individuals in the entertainment industry facing financial hardships, highlighted the importance of actors, writers, and show business professionals being able to collect their unemployment benefits if they had paid into the system and were on strike.
Governor Newsom’s veto decision came when California grappled with a $32 billion budget deficit for 2023, which is expected to worsen in the coming years. The state is experiencing a significant decline in tax revenue as residents and businesses flee due to rising crime rates, a surge in illegal immigration, and burdensome taxes. California made headlines last year for becoming the first state to offer free healthcare to illegal aliens as part of a budget deal struck by Newsom and Democrats.
While the bill to provide unemployment pay to striking union workers did not pass, the debate surrounding it has shed light on the challenges faced by the entertainment industry and the broader economic issues in California. The striking workers, who sought fair treatment and improved working conditions, must now explore alternative avenues to address their concerns. The impact of Governor Newsom’s decision will undoubtedly continue to be a topic of discussion among industry professionals and policymakers alike.